Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are among a group of supermarkets that have committed themselves to tackling concerns over food and drink promotions through an initiative with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Eight supermarkets, which aldo include Aldi, Co-Op, Lidl, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, have signed up to a set of OFT principles to ensure consumers can rely on them being “fair and meaningful” in relation to the product price or the discount being offered.

The supermarkets will adopt the principles into their own policies, following engagement with the OFT. The principles include:

  • When stating a product is ‘half price’ or ‘was £3, now £2’, the prices should be presented as discounts for the same or less time than the product was initially sold at a higher price. Prices should not be artificially inflated to make a discount appear more attractive.
  • On-pack value claims such as ‘Bigger Pack, Better Value’, should ensure that there is no cheaper way of buying the same volume of the product elsewhere in the same store.

The OFT launched an investigation into the supermarket sector after there were concerns shoppers could be confused by the way prices were displayed, advertised or promoted.

No supermarkets were found to have breached the law or to be misleading customers but it found inconsistencies in how the law was being applied.

OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell said: “Prices and promotions need to be fair and meaningful so shoppers can make the right decisions. Nowhere is this more important than during regular shopping for groceries, which accounts for 44 per cent of household spending.

“Our principles taken together with previous guidance provide supermarkets with a clear benchmark for how they should be operating so that their food and drink promotions reflect the spirit as well as the letter of the law.”